OU Applauds Homeland Security Grants to Jewish Institutions

Posted on October 1, 2007 In Press Releases

Vulnerable synagogues and day schools to upgrade their security

The Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America -the nation’s largest Orthodox Jewish umbrella organization-through its Institute for Public Affairs, applauded the awarding of $24 million in security grants to nonprofits, including many Jewish institutions, by the Department of Homeland Security. The awards, announced Friday, are an important tool to help prevent terrorist attacks and protect civilians in case of such attack.

The Orthodox Union has worked since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 with other key partners in the Jewish community, including United Jewish Communities, Jewish federations and concerned elected officials to create and strengthen the nonprofit grants program. Since its inception, the program, part of DHS’s Urban Area Security Initiative has provided approximately fifty million dollars to vulnerable nonprofits, including many in the Jewish community. The program awards are risk based on the likelihood of a terrorist attack and/or the targets symbolic or historic value.

Stephen Savitsky, President of the Orthodox Union said:
We are grateful to the Bush Administration, Secretary Chertoff and the Department of Homeland Security that it has offered this aid to synagogues and other Jewish organizations that are high profile target’s but lack the resources needed to secure their buildings and those who pray and study within them. We are proud that the OU, through our Institute for Public Affairs and Department of Synagogue Services, played a key role in the appropriation and distribution of these funds.

Nathan J. Diament, director of the Union’s Institute stated:
The Orthodox Union deeply appreciates the assistance our community will receive to keep our members safe. We also thank the Members of Congress who pressed for this program, and in particular, Senators Specter, Mikulski, Collins, Byrd, and Cochran as well as Representatives Obey, Lewis, Price and Rogers.